UPDATE: York City inspects more than 400 businesses, only three violated lockdown

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York City Police officer Michael Rykowski checks a door at the Gethsemane Building on North Beaver Street while on patrol Monday, March 23, 2020. He and other police, fire and property management representatives were checking that businesses, schools and organizations were complying with state and city Covid-19 closure orders. Bill Kalina photo

York City inspectors had a renewed confidence Tuesday in businesses' cooperation with Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 mitigation efforts to shut down "non-life-sustaining businesses" after only one of 396 had violated the order.

That was a notable difference from Monday, when York City Police, fire officials and property inspectors began enforcement and found two not in compliance after just 12 business inspections, according to Philip Given, acting director of community and economic development.

"For us, that's a win," Given said. "It shows businesses are taking the governor's orders seriously."

City officials have declined to name the businesses that were operating in defiance of Wolf's order.

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Wolf issued his shutdown order last week. Republican lawmakers in particular criticized the lockdown, arguing it threatened small businesses and was an example of Wolf exceeding his authority. 

On Monday, inspectors knocked on the doors of businesses ranging from a flooring supply company to a retail cellphone store.

Those inspectors focused Tuesday on beauty salons, barber shops and a variety of other businesses that are deemed non-life-sustaining by Wolf's administration.

Pennsylvania State Police, also conducting enforcement, issued 27 warnings across the state on Monday, one of which was in the region that includes York County.

More detailed data on the state warnings to businesses was not available.

Life-sustaining businesses exempted under the order include hospitals, pharmacies, food production, farming, the postal service, gas stations and grocery stores. 

Bars and restaurants are able to offer delivery and takeout.

Businesses out of compliance will first be given a warning. If they do not close, owners could face fines ranging from $25 to $500.

Subsequent violations, though, could result in up to 30 days in jail, officials have said. 

The citywide enforcement includes Mayor Michael Helfrich's order to limit gathering spaces of more than 50 people.

The Department of Health at noon Tuesday reported York County's confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by eight, bringing the total to 18.

Statewide, cases grew by 207, totaling 851, the highest day-to-day increase thus far. There was also one new death in Allegheny County, bringing the statewide death toll to seven.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.